When Hubby and I decided that we would become renovators, I was completely consumed with my self-appointed role as design director and architect of our project. Although I hold neither title, I have mentally designed countless homes and restaurants. I’m always entering a space and mentally removing walls, opening up kitchens and updating all fixtures and finishes. And now here I am with the fantastic opportunity to design a functional and fabulous home for my family. I was simply ecstatic as I purchased my architectural pencils and sketch pads. And with guidance from my television teachers, Mike Holmes, Genevieve Gorder, Sarah Richardson and the Novogratz, I set out to draw an apartment that would allow for lots of light, a larger family room and outdoor space for barbeques and summertime fun.
My elementary sketch was good enough for Hubby and me, but we were pretty sure the Department of Buildings would not approve my plans. So out into the wilderness we went, searching for the right architect for our project. Since I was the “head designer,” I needed an architect to transform my rudimentary designs into a professional layout and plan. I met with five architects. I shared my dreams with all of them. They saw the vision, adored it even, but wanted to either charge more than 15 percent of the budget or had other ideas on how the space should be laid out.
The architects we chose are the last ones we happened to meet. The principal architect, Leonard Colchamiro, is from the neighborhood — in fact, his office is directly across the street from our home, which Hubby and I believe is a great convenience. If any construction issues were to arise he is two minutes away. Len has over 30 years of experience and charges 10 percent of the construction costs. He and his junior architect, Quncie Williams, are completely attentive to my design needs and dreams, and while we may not always share the same aesthetic, they are willing to consider and implement all of my ideas. Quncie did a wonderful job interpreting my vision for the space.